Business owners in Arizona cannot withhold services to customers based on their religious beliefs now that the state's governor has knocked down SB 1062, or the so-called "Turn Away the Gays Bill," The Washington Post reports.
"I have not heard of one example in Arizona where business owners' religious liberty has been violated," Governor Jan Brewer said in a press conference Wednesday night. "The bill is broadly worded, and could result in unintended and negative consequences."
As Inc. has noted, the legislation passed by Arizona's Senate and House of Representatives last week is part of a national debate unfolding at the Supreme Court level this year, with two cases, called Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. Both have potential to change the way businesses abide by anti-discrimination laws, while allowing broad exceptions for businesses based on religion.
In Arizona, business owners were among the staunchest opponents to SB 1062, claiming it would be detrimental to business and was discriminatory to boot. The Super Bowl host committee, which will be held in Arizona next year, vehemently spoke out against the bill, along with other prominent companies such as Apple and American Airlines.
Earlier this week, Barry Broome, chief executive the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, one of Arizona's leading economic development groups, told Inc. that businesses were largely against the bill.
"The response to the bill is overwhelmingly negative, but the good news at this point is every business group, every economic development group, and every leadership group in the state has requested the governor to veto the bill," he said.
Chad Griffin, who heads the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, agreed, telling The Post that Brewer's decision "spared her state from institutional discrimination and economic catastrophe."
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